Tag Archives: raceday

It’s Been a Week of Hills!

GiroMaybe it’s been 2 weeks of hills, I’m not really sure at this point as everything is running together.  There have been both physical and mental hills that have brought me up and down, but it’s all part of becoming an Ironman right?  You learn to juggle the demands of your work, social, and training lifestyles as volume pick up and move you to what you once thought those limits are.  Slowly as you approach them you start to feel that you get that anxious feeling in your gut and you press on.  You slowly move past your previous limits and the confidence builds as you start to explorer the space you didn’t know existed.

So last Saturday I swim buddied at the San Diego Triathlon Classic.  I was supposed to race in this race but after careful thought with my Ironman training it just wasn’t a good fit.  Especially since I had a 105 mile ride from Solana Beach up Mt. Palomar the following day.  So putting the pride aside I went and rode with this great girl who is also training for IMAZ at a slow pace for a few hours (probably not the brightest thing cause of the 105 mile ride the next day).  Either way we had fun and it was great time…… I guess you might call it an Irondate!  Then later that night I got my run in… again this was not a good idea.  The upside was I ate a TON of carbs!

WP_20140906_003My athlete Rhonda who just did her first ever triathlon back in May finally reached the podium Saturday as well.  She took 3rd in the Athena division which she earned.  The Tri Classic was her A race and she even surprised herself.  You can follow her journey on her Facebook page “Living Instead of Existing”.  She didn’t know it at the time but I decided to stay and watch her finish and cheer her on going across that finish line.  I’m proud of her her finding this new found love of not just triathlon but being competitive.  As I’ve been a mentor for her the goal for this season was for her to just have fun and enjoy the sport, clearly it is.   Next season will be pushing a bit more (like I haven’t done enough of that) for some possible podium spots in the Athena Masters and also increasing 1 or 2 races to Olympic distances in her preparation for a 70.3 early 2016 with possible IMAZ 2016.

palomarSo now to Sunday’s fun…it really wasn’t much fun.  It sucked and it sucked a lot.  Started at 6Am 1 whole hour early and I knew there would be hills and a damn mountain so I used my road bike (I think I should have kept to my tri bike).  My road bike is an aluminum frame which I refer to as a tank.  I’ve had that thing for almost 5 years and never once had to change a tire or tube.  I put thousands of miles on it and it truly is a tank.  I knew I was going to be slow and I knew it was going to be a 9+ hour ride.  Yes you see that big mountain in the middle of the elevation chart that was a 7-8% grade for 11+ miles?  I had to ride up it and the gearing on my road bike in it’s easiest gear was a lovely 4 MPH avg going up it.  I’m not going to lie I wanted to quit going up and just go downhill.  My brain was telling me to quit and just turn around but my legs just kept peddling up even as I saw friends of mine going down.  I stopped and let my HR go back down since the sun was beating down on me and climbing up hill keeps me in my Z4 and Z5 for long periods of time.  On these stops I made the mistake of looking at my map on my phone and talk about the longest mile.. I thought to myself man I’m going 4 MPH this is going to take me 15 damn minutes to get to the top this is just dumb and why did I do this.   It was about this time that my legs wouldn’t let me turn around that I finally caught up to my buddy Marcus and I thought to myself that if he can do this than so can I.  Finally made it to the top with him and another guy named Steve.   10702229_715504185206710_5231643471898073495_nWe caught the girls just before they went down it was a fun quick reunion (I hated all of them at this point because they beat me and weigh half of what I do.)  It was at this time where mother nature decided to shower on us.. A LOT!  Yeah that wall of rain was what I went through on the way down.  My friend Carrie happened to snap this picture as she was going up and I was going down.  At the end of the day we all got across the finish line we got our medals we endured mother nature’s 100+ heat and flash flooding.  Congratulations to everyone we made it out alive and our legs truly do hate us now.

I heard someone say that after 6 hours of straight exercising something happens to you.  They are right and it’s different for everyone and for me it was interesting that it was my legs that kept me going forward and not quitting when everything that I read and listed to told me it would be my body that was telling me to quick and it would be my mind telling me to stop.  I felt that urge to want to keep going, that confidence that you can do this.  You can finish it.  People still call me crazy and say that this is not normal behavior.  I would have said the same thing 3 years ago as well.  But for me this is becoming the new normal and I like it.  One of the best choices I made in my life was losing weight and getting outside of my comfort zone of inside the bar.

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ITU World Triathlon Race Report

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This was the first triathlon I’ve done outside of California.  I knew ahead of time it was going to be hot and humid.  It didn’t disappointment in that regard either.  I don’t even want to look at the official time because of how bad my run was so I’m not.  But let’s just say this race was full of surprises from the time I stepped foot outside my hotel to walk to transition.

Race morning went off without a hitch.  Woke up got ready and packed my stuff into my transition bag.  Now my wave didn’t start till 8:55AM and transition closed at 6AM.  So I didn’t bother eating anything now I just finished getting ready and went to transition to get my stuff all setup.  First step outside and it’s pouring rain.  I don’t mean San Diego rain where it’s small drops and more of a haze of small drops either.  I am talking true mid-western drops.  In the back of my mind I already knew what was coming.. the rest of my day was going to be rough.  So by the time I ended up in transition I was soaked.  So wet course, 3 hours to kill, and the heat/humidity was picking up.

Swim: 00:26:19
The water wasn’t as cold as it was made out to be but then again I swim in the Pacific Ocean.  The water didn’t taste bad either… ha ha ha.  The horn went off and almost immediately I was passing people and found some nice feet to draft off of.  The pace wasn’t fast (for me) and I certainly wasn’t struggling to keep up with him so since this wasn’t a race I was going to place at I just took the swim easy does it and instead I focused on my stroke.  Make sure my breathing was done right with my head down.  I used it as a training swim… literally.   I think I did the catch up drill at one point.  I had one other person drafting off me as I felt their hands on my feet a times but it didn’t bother me since I was drafting off someone else.  Since it was in the harbor they had this ramp we climbed up on to get out of the water.   The guy in front of me could hardly stand upright so I held him up as we got going to transition and he thanked me for it as some other people were laughing.  The guy behind me also thanked me for the draft…lol   Got to love race day.  Little did I know it would be a half mile run through T1!

Bike: 01:03:29
I felt at home on my tri bike again and we flew through that fast and flat course.  I was concerned at this point cause the sun was out in full force.  I had some salt sticks along with some NUUN for hydration through the bike.  As we approached the river to my delight we went onto lower Wacker Dr. which is completely covered so no sun.. YAY!  Of course at this point my GPS on my Garmin didn’t work so I had no concept of speed, just power.  I kept my power between 170-220 for most of it with a cadence of 90+.   We had 4 loops of the bike course, and man I could have done that bike course ALL DAY LONG.  I mean I have never been so happy on the bike just flying with what I thought was very little effort.  Sadly though at the last lap all I could think about was the heat at humidity of the run and how am I going to stay hydrated.  I had 1 bottle of NUUN left from the bike and some more salt sticks, figured the rest would be from water along the run course.

Run: 01:10:57
At this point it was basically 10:30 and the sun was out in full force and the moisture was in the air.  My first mile felt pretty good I had a good pace going for my Z2 and then around mile 1.5-1.75 I started to get a bit dizzy and hot so I slowed it down and drank some water and threw some water over me from the aid station.   Sadly that’s all they had so no sponges this time around like Oceanside (might have to bring some for Minneapolis).  Then it just got progressively worse for me.   I just couldn’t muster the energy to move past a walk without my HR jumping and getting a bit more dizzy.  I suffered through the next 2 laps which at this point my teammate Forrest caught up with me and he was having some GI issue’s so we finished off the race together which was a good moral booster for me.  There was no leg cramping like I had at Bass Lake which I felt was a win.

Closing: 2:51:XX
So even though this was my fastest Olympic distance yet and my 3rd ever it taught me a lot about myself.  I raced out of my element and out of my state.  I knew it was going to be hard going into the race after having to basically take an entire month off of training due to fatigue and over training.  I came to push my limits and I feel I did, it could have been worse.  As the day went on I feel they really needed another possible aid station or modify the course so that it could have ran on the sidewalk under the shade of some large tree’s.  Might come back next year and do the Chicago Triathlon.

Bass Lake Triathlon–Race Report

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Well this ultimately was a fun race.  It was very scenic and very challenging for me.  All I can really say is HILLS!  So Bass Lake is located up by Yosemite National Park at roughly an 3,400 feet.  Going into this race mentally I wasn’t prepared and I certainly wasn’t physically prepared either.  I’ve been riding that fine line between fatigue and happiness.   The show goes on though and in 3:02:00 I pulled out a first place finish by more than 20 minutes.  The triathlon itself is a very small field and it’s a small locally put on race which made it feel relaxed and a good small town race.  So here is the report for my second Olympic distance triathlon.

The Swim:  26:50
It was in Bass Lake and it consisted of 2 loops, I was not happy about having to get out of the water and then run all the way through the exit arch only to run back into the water.  For once it was nice to not have the taste of salt water in the mouth and the water temp was so great I regret wearing the wetsuit.  I was drafting behind another guy in my wave who started out strong but slowly lost his energy before the first turn around so this is where I ended up leading and not being able to find another draft partner but over all I felt like it was a solid swim at a decent pace.  There was a 1/4 mile run up from the lake to the transition area so I stopped and completely got out of my wetsuit to run up.  It was at this point I could start to tell that the gulp of lake water wasn’t going to go well.

The Bike: 1:23:51
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Did I mention hills?  So right off the start you climb uphill and it wasn’t an easy one.  As I started to settle in I could start to feel my left hamstring tighten up but I kept a solid pace and tried not to put too much effort to keep speed going downhill cause I knew after mile 9 it was going to be an uphill battle…!  Right around mile 10 I was switching gears and I dropped my chain which made me even more frustrated.  Thankfully it took me about 30 seconds to get it back on but having to climb from a stop just sucked.  The upside is that this course was extremely scenic going through the mountain side and on the lake.  During the ride though I kept fighting back the fact that I had to pee and my stomach was not happy with the lake water and the mixing with my usual carb drink.  Rounding the final turn thankfully was downhill but at this point it was just about enduring the hills of the run.  Into and out of transition in about 1 minute.

The Run: 1:04:14
Running out of T2 I was looking for a place to take a leak but to my surprise there was nothing!  This was a 2 loop run course as well, so I already wasn’t happy about having to run through things 2 times and endure the hills 2 times!  By this time my left hammy was tight and I kept to a what seemed to be sluggish 10:30 mile and I kept thinking that this sucked and why am I not able to maintain a much faster pace, oh yeah HILLS!   Around mile 2 a fellow triclubber who was just finishing up his race mentioned that he’s hurting with the hills so all I could do is just think… if I’m having this hard of a time the 2nd place guy has got to really be hurting!  Every time I would start to settle into a pace I’d encounter another hill and during the 2nd lap my left hammy said enough and cramped right up.  I walked it out and didn’t have to come to a stop but my pace slowed to about an 11:00 min/mile.  Everyone on the course though was friendly and the Team Challenge people that I knew cheering me on helped out a LOT!  Of course at mile 5 all I could think about was having to pee and after crossing the finish line with just over 3 hours I was a bit disappointed in myself.

Conclusion:  1st Place Clydes and the proud winner of a huge salt rock!
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It was a very challenging race for me because I don’t really train hills.  I absolutely hate them, and part of that is because it’s not easy getting 220lbs up hills.   I kept comparing my performance this time around to my first Olympic distance at SD TriRock.  I shouldn’t be, simply because TriRock is flat and fast so I probably would have had a much better time.  I don’t think I’ll be back next year since I want to do Escape from Alcatraz.  What I am taking away from this race though is that I need to really do more brick workouts after long bike sessions and get my legs used to it all.

SEAL Sprint Race Report

I signed up for this race as a warm up race for Oceanside.  Something to get my feet wet into the excitement of a well known race in San Diego before heading into Oceanside.  The day before the race my coach had our final race simulation for Oceanside which I was not expecting.  Saturday started with a 1.3 mile ocean swim, 56 mile bike on the front side of the Oceanside course and then I just did a 4 mile run.  I reached my goals for the simulation and I can tell already if the sun is going to be out like it was on Saturday (83 degree’s and no clouds) then the run will be challenging just trying to keep cool.  I’ll have to adjust my salt tab intake accordingly.  Racing on tired legs, this should be fun.

Race Day:
I woke up at 5AM and I had everything from the day before still in my car so I didn’t have to spend much time loading things up.  Got down to the venue and had a pretty good feeling going into the race.  My legs felt good and not really totally wasted (I wonder now if I pushed it hard enough during training).  This was a small field of racers judging by the transition area but I’m ok with that.  I prefer smaller fields, just means less crowded on the course.  Got everything setup into what I think is a great transition setup.  Warmed up said hi to some of my fellow TCSD racers and started down towards the water.  This is a LONG run from the bay to T1 and I hate long runs like that.  I was in wave 2 which was Males 39+ with Clydesdale, Clydesdale Masters, and the relay people, this wave was HUGE!  Now this was my first beach entry start to a triathlon and I stuck to the right side.

Swim:
The horn goes off and it’s a mad dash to the water, at first I was a bit irritated with all the people it was crowded and everyone was swimming everywhere.  It was a good thing too so that I can use it as experience come Oceanside and IMAZ.  The swim was a bit rough as the sun was right in our faces where the buoy was to turn right so sighting was a bit hard.  Once out of the water there was a long run up to T1 where the timing mat was (this explains my 12 minute 500M swim).   Had a quick T1 considering I need to work on getting out of my wetsuit faster.

Bike:
Been working on my bike mount so that I don’t have to completely stop and I nailed it this time and was able to maintain a 21.6 MPH average on the whole course.  It was flat and fast the way I like.  I could have pushed a bit harder but I didn’t want to kill my legs (I should have pushed it and gone all out).  I need to really get my head out of the whole go slower part of sprint triathlons.  My overall time was 34 minutes on the bike when it should have been closer to 30.  T2 went really well and I was out in no time.

Run:
The first almost 2 miles of this run is in the sand so I already hated it.  I ran 3.4 miles in about 28 minutes and averaged an 8:29 average which is by far one of my best performances.  Again though I kept looking at my Garmin and kept telling myself that I needed to go slower so that I could finish and not blow up.  I crossed the finish line not gassed and I felt that I didn’t go all out at all.  Looking back I was not happy with the race at all and it was all myself to blame.

Takeaways:
I need to really get my head out of going slow for sprint triathlons.  It’s a sprint, it’s all out or go home for me these days.  I need to realize that I’ve got potential and I need to stop viewing myself as the fat guy on the race course.

First Race Down–Tritonman Race Report

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About the Race:
This is a small triathlon mainly to help support UCSD Triathlon so I didn’t have any high expectations of a high profile race.   It was actually kind of nice to and do a small triathlon while supporting UCSD Triathlon.  Didn’t have to worry about bibs, stickers all over the bike or helmet, just show up and race.  Most sprint distances cut the swim to a 500M swim but this was a 750M Swim.  The bike consisted of 3 loops around Fiesta Island.  The run consisted of 3 loops around the park path with the final turn into the finish line.  No big finishing shoot with a carpet, no huge crowds, just the timing line, short sweet and to the point.   Most of the competitors were college kids with a few of us old timers out there showing them that you can still do it regardless.

Race Expectations:
I didn’t have any high expectations for this race.  It was about pacing and not pushing too much.  I also didn’t use any of my usual training gear, no Garmin 910XT, no HR strap, no foot pod, and no speed/cadence sensor.  I wanted to simulate something happening to my Garmin and having to race completely blind and go off nothing but feelings.  Looking back I wonder if it was the smartest thing cause it was a race!  Well the reason I signed up is because it was a race and I was hoping for water temps that should be like Oceanside 70.3 along with weather.   Since this was not an A race it was a preparation race and while it didn’t have the same flair as some of the bigger race the energy amongst the racers was just as high and I had just the same butterflies in the stomach up to the start.

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Race Day:
I had a work call wake me up at 2AM which didn’t help matters and it lasted for 2.5 hours so I just went straight to getting my pre-race protein shake /carbs and got everything ready to head over to the venue.  It was foggy and it was cold, but it’s the end of February so I expected it to be cold.  Thankfully they gave us some beanies as part of the swag cause I used it all the way up to entering the water.  I got everything setup really nice in my transition which I’m sure paid off with my T’times but I won’t know till the results are posted.  Walked down to the bay fully expecting the water to be utterly freezing but it wasn’t bad at all, in fact I was relieved that it was not cold.  Got a good warm up swim and tried to remember to reach for the corners of the pool to assist with my stroke during the warm up (this will take some work).

Swim:
As the Male AG’s lined up we were off, even with the jelly fish around us.  Stayed to the outside of things and worked my way to the inside just passing people left and right and couldn’t find any feet to draft off of.  Thought I had a few but I quickly eclipsed them as we got father from the start.  Even around the first turn it was bunched to no end and thankfully I didn’t get caught in that washing machine and made a mad dash to the final left.  I didn’t sprint the last 200M or so like I usually would have, I had to remember to keep a constant pace.  I think I got a sub 12 minute 750M but who knows.

Bike:
My transition went pretty smooth and I even mounted the bike in a pretty good fashion.  Since this was around Fiesta Island I figured there would be a huge headwind on the backside of the island like usual, but NO WIND!   At this point my feet were back to normal and I must have been pushing 22-23 MPH who knows except I know I was passing people left and right and only had a few college kids pass me on their super duper fast bikes.  the only real issue here was the people on bikes who failed to stay to the right if they are going slow.   The slowing down aspect of people who can’t follow simple instructions really annoyed me and another guy behind me who was yelling as well.  My dismount was good as ever except I have a feeling I took too much time getting out of my shoes moving up to the dismount line.  So don’t know the time at all but maybe a 30 minute bike.

Run:
Rushed T2 a bike and my feet were frozen and number again from the cold wet grass so putting on the shoes was a hassle.  This run was going to be interesting cause I would have no idea of how fast I was going.  I think I maintained a 9:30-10:00 mile pace but it was hard to tell when you can’t feel your feet.  I kept seeing a bunch of people passing me but who know what lap they were on and I kept telling myself to keep my race pace, I’m not here for a podium finish.  Through most of the run I felt great although my quads were starting to get a bit sore at this point (I didn’t do anything for nutrition) I had a salt stick on the bike but I think I should have popped 1 right as I got on the bike and another coming off the bike.  The 3rd lap was getting boring at this time but I picked it up going into the final shoot and saw the gun time of 1:23 so my total finish time should be around 1:13-1:15.  I’m pretty happy with that, although it was hard to keep telling myself to go at an even pace that I would at Oceanside.

Takeaways:
1. I need to put rubber bands in my transition bag.  I keep forgetting them for my shoes.
2. Sunglasses, I need to make sure they stay in my pockets.  They fell out and I lost them.
3. Practice sighting with my strokes.  Since adjusting my stroke from SwimLabs assessment I need to practice sighting.
4. Salt Sticks when I jump on the bike and then right before getting off.
5. Hat!  Even though this was a short race I need to get into the habit of running with a hat with this bald head.

San Diego Triathlon Challenge–The Best Day in Triathlon

Donate here to help me raise money for the Challenged Athlete’s Foundation San Diego Triathlon Challenge!  The Best Day in Triathlon!

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It was the day of the Mission Bay Triathlon and my relay mate Jeff had told me about this race.   At the time I had no clue what this was about I thought it was but it sounded challenging.  So as he spoke more about it and mentioned the Challenged Athlete Foundation is the one that puts it on and that it goes to support challenged athletes to assist them in accomplishing their dreams.  As this race moved closer to race day I hear more and more people talking about it and I wanted to get involved.   I checked on their website and it was on the same day as my Oceanside Life Time Tri race that I had committed to.  I told myself that in 2014 I will be doing this race.  I wanted to race for a cause and I always found challenged athletes inspirational.

About the San Diego Triathlon Challenge
What began 20 years ago as a fundraiser to help one athlete, Jim MacLaren, to regain his independence after a tragic second accident has grown to become one of the most highly-regarded and motivational events in the triathlon world. Since that first event 20 years ago, the Aspen Medical Products San Diego Triathlon Challenge has been instrumental in raising the funds that have allowed more than 8,200 challenged athletes around the world to make it to the starting line and inspired a new generation to realize they have no limits.

“The San Diego Triathlon Challenge is the greatest day in our sport. To be a part of what this amazing Foundation does and how they change lives for people was so motivating, it gave me a purpose. I was inspired, and wanted to do more.” — Chris “Macca” McCormack

So as 2014 progresses and I become more and more active in my racing and triathlon I’ve found it important to race to support a cause and the Challenged Athlete’s Foundation falls right in line with what I believe.  So help me support CAF and making other athlete’s dreams possible.   You can click on the picture to donate for a good cause or the line under the title.  I’m starting small with just a $600.00 goal but the more the merrier!

What a Week! Lot’s of Changes.–Long Blog

2013 Races Below.  Next year will have an Ironman Medal.

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As I put my first week of Half Ironman training in the books (15 more to go) I have finally begun to notice a lot of changes with the way my body actually looks.  I can see my quads attaching up to my hips and I can even see where my oblique’s lay.  The downside is the extra skin.  I knew at some point it would rear its evil head, but thankfully I don’t let that slow me down.  People around me have noticed I’ve slimmed down more, and I was able to fit into a pair of 36” pants.  I have not been able to fit into a 36” waist since high school.  Oddly enough though my numbers on the scale and my body fat % has stayed roughly the same.  The biggest hurdle though is coming up and that’s holidays with the family and saying no to the food that won’t mix with my diet!   Sigh… no toffee chocolates, no cookies, and no eggnog (okay maybe a little bit of all those).

I was also selected to be a brand ambassador for a sports apparel company that is trying to broaden it’s US base.  So I get free workout clothes to wear and promote the brand, I can’t wait.  I’ve finalized my out of state races for 2014 and booked my hotels and my bike transport to most events.  I plan to do as many local races as possible so I’ll be close to racing every weekend.   But my Tour De Holley starts with Oceanside 70.3 (not really travel but it’s not San Diego)  March 29th, then ITU Chicago June 29th, Life Time Tri Minneapolis July 12th, New York City Triathlon August 3rd, Life Time Tri Oceanside October 26th, then Ironman Arizona November 16th.  Let’s just say after all the travel is done 2014 travel will have been over $4000 including race entry fee’s..  I do have the Rock N Roll Arizona Half Marathon January 19th and I’m hoping to have a 2 hour time.  I must say that the number one question I get is… Why?  Well I’ve thought about why on several occasions and each time I come up with a different answer but it’s along the same lines as this.  I’ve been an athlete since I can remember.  I wasn’t the best at any sport and some sports I was good, but 1 thing was for sure I was always there either supporting my teammates or giving it what I got.  Now as I’m older and that I’ve lost the weight that I set out to lose I needed more goals and I have found the triathlete community to be nothing short than amazing.  People travel to see the sights of the town, experience local food and local culture.   Why not travel and race at the same time?   That is why.

The Triathlete Community
Whether you’re in the pool, on a bike going up a 5.9% grade, or on the last 3 miles of a 13 mile training run there is 1 thing that every triathlete has in common.  We don’t care what your career is, we don’t care that you’re older or younger than we are, and we don’t care if you’re a democrat or a republican.  We are all the same out there on race day.  We are out doing what we enjoy doing.  We are out there accomplishing what other people have said is not possible.  We are achieving our goals, and making our dreams happen.  Everyone that I have met through the Triathlon Club of San Diego (TCSD) has been absolutely amazing.  Old, young, fat, skinny, big, small, new to triathlon, or the veteran Ironmen of the club, we all look at each other as equals. 

Training
With my first weeks in the book and looking back it was a good challenge and it’s nice to be training again.  I had to send my Garmin 910XT back because it showed I was training at 30K feet (San Diego won’t ever be 30K feet).  But I’ve been hitting the mileage on the run and I’ve been swimming extra because of USAT’s National Club Challenge and we’re on our swim session right now.  Currently I’m 18th out of 2731 athletes in overall mileage for Swim/Bike/Run, and I’m 8th out of 2731 athletes in swim mileage.  I’ve joined our club swim masters program to improve my swim which I probably won’t see much improvement for Oceanside but come IMAZ my swim should be pretty darn solid.  I am hoping that by November I can have my full marathon to around 4 hours.